tv Newsmakers CSPAN October 21, 2012 10:00am-10:30am EDT
when i watch c-span, i like the congressional hearings. they have the hearings from various pieces of legislation. but the house when they have their proceedings. i have found a congressional hearings of particular interest. veterans affairs or appropriations. on c-span eakin get the live testimony. within an hour or two you can get the raw data. >>, birch jr. watches c-span. -- tom burch jr watches c-span. >> we want to welcome back chris
van hollen. thank you for being here. and two reporters. david, go ahead. >> there's been a lot of talk about the fiscal cliff. the automatic spending cuts, the tax increases unless congress finds an alternative way to reduce the deficit. here we are before the election. what are the odds that you think you will find a way out of this mess? as opposed to going over the cliff? >> their decent odds. we will avoid a part of the fiscal cliff. and let me explain. with respect to the sequester part, the automatic, across-the- board cuts that take place on defense and non-defense, i think there's a good chance we could come up with something for a good period of time.
there's a reasonable chance we can do that. when it comes to the tax issue, i think it is a potentially different story. we have been quick. and president obama has been clear. we want it to extend middle- class tax relief, months ago. republicans have taken the position that unless you extend a bonus tax break for wealthier individuals, then nobody gets a tax cut extension. and if republicans and here to that position, it is very likely they would then be taking us over the cliff. the keys to the car are now in their hands on this particular issue. >> you might be able to put off the spending cuts and then fight about the taxes? >> i am not sure yet. i think there's broad agreement that the across-the-board sequester cuts are bad for the country. democrats to not like the cut to
the fence and non-defense. we are together on the fact that would be bad for the country, but for the economy. i hope we could proceed on that track. we would love to be able to address the tax issue. but again, you have 98% of the house republicans signed the grover norquist pledged that does not one additional penny of revenue from wealthy people for the purpose of reducing the deficit. we believe you ought to take a balanced approach. the approach bipartisan groups have recommended. that would be the question. in the lame-duck session, will you have enough republicans going to ask the very wealthiest to contribute more to paying down the debt? >> congressman, we are in a similar situation as we were in 2010 as far as the bush tax rate. at that point you were a key player. going back to that time, rates were the taxes wer
extended. there came a point where the clearly decided -- to do with the public. house democrats were not part of that deal. house democrats were not pleased with that deal. what happened back then? should obama win, are you confident that will not happen again? >> many of us were upset with this cut at the time. we thought it was a sweetheart deal for the wealthiest in the country. the president agreed was a bad idea body felt it forced -- he felt forced to except that. the president has been clear that if we want to be serious about reducing the deficit, we have got to ask very wealthy people to contribute. he has been very clear that he would veto any deal that came to
his desk of extended the tax cuts for the wealthy people. >> to talk about the grover norquist pledge. some republicans have been quoted saying if president obama wins, taxes are going to go up. those are coming from some house republicans including tom paul. they estimate will take the house, that means republicans going along with that. do you think and obama when would be a mandate to raise taxes on the wealthy, do you think there would be enough republicans but would break away should obama win? what i think a central issue in this campaign has been whether we should ask the very wealthy to contribute more to reducing the deficit. the president has been clear on that pier he says we need to do that. it means used hit seniors on medicare carter. that is why he says we need a
contribution from the wealthy. i think that you will find some people like tom cole who i think is a reasonable and pragmatic guy who will say we are going to have a deal with this situation. however, i think you are still going to have a whole lot of house republicans that refuse to budge. what has changed is the structure situation. as you go into january 1, if republicans did not budge from it will mean that taxes go up on everybody. and i think it is just an untenable position, policy wise and politically for republican house members to be saying country, listen, we are not giving in other tax break, because we are holding out to give tax breaks to the very wealthy. the president will be campaigning hard on this issue after election. and some democrats will not be a majority in the house. under the scenario you painted from i think there's a different
end to this movie this time around than there was two years ago. >> the president made a strong point about doing it by raising the marginal income tax in the top two brackets. do you see any way to do this through another door. or this or have to be a top rate? >> i think we should allow the top rate to return to where they were during the clinton administration when the economy was doing just great. and last time that we balance our budget. once you go there, you can talk about additional -- you can point out that the sums involved commission, they assume as their starting point of that additional revenue from allowing the tax rate on the top incomeers to go into effect, they assume that. my view would be, let the rates go up. we are happy to of a conversation about tax reform. and the things we should do,
simplify the tax code. but we should not arbitrarily fixed the rate reduction. 20% across the board would cost five trillion dollars and then said, we are going to try to find a way to pay for this. >> was after the election, the president wins, congress is controlled, and there's a negotiation did it turns out that raising the top rate is difficult, but some limiting exemptions and credits to get the money from the top income groups is more possible. is that a possible place to explore? >> yes. i think the starting point for the rates as apart as a negotiation of what it would be, and then if republicans want to propose what they want to get rid of and they come public with it, which they have refused to do so far. so are the only thing have said is what they will keep off the table capital gains, we will not touch that.
and folks like mitt romney cannot touch not. everything else is on the table. once the rates return, we should have a conversation about tax reform. the other thing we should look at, and i am speaking personally is -- pacs. i do not think anyone thinks we should permanently extend the payroll tax cut. but given the situation we are and i do not think that should be taken off of the table. >> we are talking about payroll tax holidays at the end of the year that expire. if you look at the reports -- they say that is a much bigger impact on the economy than allowing the top rates to go up. as much more important because it means more money in the pockets of working americans to go out and spend that money rather than just sticking it in the state deposit box. i think that, again, i think that has got to be part of the mix. >> critics say that is taking
money out of social security. they came out again and said that. they do think it should be off the table. you think based on the economy is -- it is not time to take that money out. >> it needs to be part of the equation. the actuary for social security has stated very clearly that this does not take one penny out of the social security trust fund. those funds are back filled, dollar for dollar from the general fund. that has been true of the last two years. to be true in any extension we have. i am just saying should be part of the conversation. and as some people would like to take off of the table. speaking personally, i think it should be part of the debate. >> can we talk about spending? i think medicare would be any part of any deficit reduction conversation. so for the president's proposal are limited to squeezing
healthcare -- do you think democrats are willing to think about big changes to medicare after -- as part of one of these situations? >> let me be clear. we have not said we should just do across the board, sort of cuts. what we have said is we should change the way we reimburse providers so that we reward them based on the quality of care they provide things like accountable care organizations. so, the idea is to improve the coordination of care and bring down costs and whether it is not heard patients, it can help a patient. it seems to me we should continue to look at those kinds of ideas before we try to transfer rising health-care costs on to the backs of seniors. >> i was not talking about this. but about raising the premium for upper income people.
or changing the copays. things are going to run on the table -- >> before we even start talking about those kinds of things, what does have a conversation about taking a balanced approach to the deficit. and republicans have absolutely refused to talk about asking very wealthy people to contribute more to the deficit. want to go straight to hitting the seniors on medicare. and so, my view is not -- that is not a conversation we will have a. the other point i would make, as you know, medicare right now is already -- higher income seniors already to pay more in terms of premiums. there are limits to what you can do their. >> if republicans put talks on the table, you are not ruling out the possibility of going beyond? >> i then we need to look at all of these things. i think that is fun of the last place you would go.
there are lots of other places in the first place. >> can you tell us how that process was? did you do any p90x workouts before? what was the process like? to think you help to the vice president get ready? >> the vice-president is in pretty good shape, too. [laughter] >> you are right. i get along with paul ryan. we are very far apart on the policies. the reason i asked me to take on that role was because, as a senior democrat on the committee, i sit next to paul ryan. we can finish each other's sentences. i hope i was hopeful to be vice- president. what i can say is that there was
really nothing you heard during the debate that he hadn't heard during the previous four days and the block. i think that was helpful. vice president knows these issues. i was able to bring to the table the manner in which paul ryan -- but in terms of the line and the way the message is delivered, i think we prepared him, i think he was prepared. >> did you laugh and smile as much as he did in the debate? >> joe biden is passionate about these issues. especially when it comes to fighting for the middle class. and that came through in the debate clearly. >> did paul ryan seem like the same person you have been sitting next to during the debate? did he change for the debate? >> i do not think he changed. i think one thing that has been a little different starting with the republican convention is
that i get the impression, i did not know if this is the case, that there are some things that paul ryan is saying that he might not have said before. his speech, as you know was a heyday for the fact checkers. his convention speech. the next day. i will leave it at that. >> if president obama is reelected, paul ryan welcome back to the house. in a somewhat different position than the left. more prominent. in some respects, one of the possible candidates for 2016. do you think that will have an influence on the budget talks? >> i am assuming it will have some impact. it is hard to know exactly what impact. what we have seen so far in terms of the ryan but it is that is an uncompromising plan. the of us to many different ways if there would except one penny of additional money.
romney said he wouldn't take $10 of cuts to $1 of revenue. so it is really hard to see how you move forward with such an uncompromising approach. the one thing that has changed is that it is -- the tax situation at the end of the year. because if you allow all of the tax rates to revert to the levels, which i am not for, very few people are, that is $5 trillion over 10 years. simms and bowls cost for about $2 trillion as part of deficit- reduction. seems to me there are things that we can work with. again, i am not expecting any conversions. but i am saying is the structure situation has changed. >> do you think he is more likely to be with speaker boehner are? or would it be with cantor? >> i do not know the answer. all i know is that to date, the
ryan budget approach has been a totally uncompromising approach. and to that extent, it is been very different then were the speaker appears to be willing to go and discuss. and i do not know if we expect any common kenneth after election conversions. >> if i can ask about the gang of eight. what are the odds of that coming up as some kind of compromise? >> i want to salute them for their efforts. they have been working hard to come together on these issues. and there are some indications that the republican and democratic leaders in the senate -- at least have got one who is engaged in the process. after the election, you are obviously going to see a lot greater involvement from the president. in terms of a post-election.
as well as from the house and senate leadership in both parties. if they have got some ideas that have been ready made, i think people would be interested in looking at them, but i think the conversation will quickly move to the leadership level. >> the democratic leaders and the republican leaders in the senate have someone in net gain eightthe gang of 8? >> i think they have expressed an interest. they are participating. in some sense, not as the spokespersons for the leadership. but with the blessing of the leadership. that being said, i think that they have done a good job and try to work through some of the issues. but i think once the election is over, you will see the house,
senate leadership and the white house really engage quickly. on these issues. >> spoke with nancy pelosi heading be dccc. there's a lot of speculation that she will not be serving the entire congress. there's concern within some democrats of who will fill that role, especially on the fund- raising part. do you have any idea whether she is going to be continuing on and being the top democrat in the next congress? and do you think that there would be a major voice -- whenever she decides? >> i do not know what your plans are. i think she is served the democrats predict the house very well. i thought she served the country very well. i think she serves our caucus very well as a democrat leader. i do not know exactly what decisions she will make.
>> what about your decision? >> you are on but it now. -- you are on budget now. >> i do like the budget. unfortunately, because even in that position i am a member of the leadership. i participated in all the leadership meetings. and look, you never know what a post-election period will bring with it. obviously, you want to look at all of your options. but i should be clear. i think that serving as the senior democrat of the budget committee has been an honor that my colleagues gave me and provided me an opportunity to be in the middle of a lot of huge discussions. we will continue that way i hoped. >> would be willing to leave the house and take an administration position if there is a second obama term? >> i am focused on the election right now.
>> ok. >> i am very pleased with the opportunity that i currently have, but again, until election day what us see what the outcome is. >> we were talking as if president obama was born to be reelected. that is a possibility. but not the only possibility. what is the scenario if mitt romney wins and have a lame-duck congress in a lame-duck president? >> i will tell you what i think that is a lot harder for the country. in terms of a bipartisan agreement. and it is because every bipartisan group has said that a reasonable deficit reduction plan involves additional cuts and reforms, but also has to include revenue. and he -- mitt romney and paul ryan have said, absolutely no, not going to ask for one more penny come even from the wealthiest americans to of
reduce the deficit. it is hard to get there if you do not have additional revenues. means you whack everybody. >> is the day after the election. if mitt romney is the president on the left, what you do with the lame duck? >> my understanding is -- my understanding from the statements of the romney campaign is that they would ask for essentially one year in which to work out those issues. i assume, we know that means they want to extend the tax rates for everybody, including folks at the top. i am assuming they do not want to extend payroll tax for working americans. paul ryan voted against extended the payroll tax cuts even last january, even though that would be bigger boost to the economy, then another romney tax break for the very wealthy.
and when it comes to sequester, as far as i can tell, they are kicking mattedkeeping no down the road. >> what would you and the democrats do? >> it would continue to push for a balanced approach to reducing our deficit and focusing as well on trying to accelerate the recovery. we have that goal. we have to come up with a credible plan that we put in place right away to reduce the long-term deficit. we need to make sure we boost the very fragile economy. the president has not posted the it has been sitting there for more than a year now. whatever they come up with, they have to put that dual goal of boosting a fragile, and recovery, a flat file economy.
and making it clear that we are serious about long-term deficit reduction plan. for ticket balanced approach, we can do that. >> if you have as four years of experience of the democratic campaign committee, a lot of leaders are predicting on the democratic side that they are going to pick up the net 25 seats. you talk to steve israel? you know this so well. >> steve is doing a great job. i did it for two terms. he is doing a great job. we will pick up seats. we have been gaining momentum. and the magic number is 25 seats. and look, we are in striking distance. i did not think anyone is making any particular prediction other
than to say that the focus on the republican budget, the romney-ryan plan for the country has helped a lot of our candidates. and a lot of these seats, you have a republican congress who voted for a budget that turns a medicare into a voucher plan. that has a tax plan that independent groups have said would raise taxes on middle income taxpayers to finance tax breaks for the wealthy. i think a lot of these are in play. part of it will depend on not only the president winning, but winning by a decent margin, obviously by today's standards that is 1.5%, a 2%. >> with keeping the key states are? california has been mentioned. and the home state of the new
york. where are these going to have to be? >> i think new york is very important. florida. what of seats in florida. -- there are a lot of seats in florida. you mentioned california. some are not president of battleground states. and then you of some of the battleground states. florida being one. we have some in ohio. and some southwest race is. colorado. a number of important races there as well. again, i think that the good news for democrats is that momentum is building. refining and lot of republicans in congress who are always pretended to be moderates. all of a sudden these hard corti party members of congress are running ads like -- we really want to enter into a bipartisan agreement.
we will see. i think the voters will hold them accountable, voting for a very extreme budget plans. >> congressman, chris van hollen, thank you. >> we are back with our two reporters. and the puzzle cliff, what is it? are we going off of it? what's the fiscal cliff are the spending cuts and tax increases that will take effect at the end of the year unless congress and the president finds another way to reduce the deficit. about congressman chris van hollen made an interesting point where neither democrats or republicans want the spending cuts. he suggested they might find a way to substitute some other spending cuts and get rid of that while continuing to run the argument over whether to extend the tax cuts for the rich. >> and what to expect a ban on tax rates, tax reform, bush era tax cuts? >> "it is the great unknown. i think that mitt romney wins,
he is going to have the momentum that will push it into 2013. and they do that anyway, even if obama wins. but this election, both sides agree. whoever wins is going to be able to say, i have the mandate. this is a central issue, we have to do my plan. if it is obama, that will put republicans in the house and a very difficult place. will split the conference. there will be quite an uproar. >> what about the tax cut holiday? people have benefited from not for the last two years. it could expire at the end of this year. trucks that was about chris van hollen very newsworthy van is basically trying to revive that. we still have a -- >> i thought it was very newsworthy that chris van hollen was trying to revive that or least keep it on the table.
everyone thought it is dead, it is not going to be extended. >> the back story on that though is that republicans did not want to do it again last time. there were pushed into a corner on it. they did do it again. are republicans like to say, if the economy is what it is right now, they really should say no. >> the key is that when it was set to expire, the obama administration was also treating it as something that was going to expire. in the back of their minds -- the economy would be better by 2012. here we are in the unemployment rate is down a little bit. 7.8%. but ben bernanke is turning the spigot for more and more credit. chris van hollen think van is chris van hollen think van is i think what chris van hollen